5 Essential Tips to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay
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Pursuing higher education has become very expensive in these times of rising inflation. In the UK, it can cost anywhere from 9,250 pounds to 38,000 pounds to attend a college/university. That is equivalent to 11,137 US dollars and 45,752 US dollars.
Not everyone can afford these kinds of fees. That’s why students try to qualify for scholarships so that they can waive some of these fees. This lets them afford a graduate degree.
Scholarships offered by institutes typically require students to send in an essay along with their application. The purpose of this essay is to give the opportunity for the student to convince the judges why the scholarship should go to them.
It is understandable that scholarships are limited and institutes cannot afford to hand them out willy-nilly.
A bad essay can cost you your scholarship, so it is important to write these essays to the best of your ability. We will look at some tips that you can use to write a winning scholarship essay.
5 Essential Tips to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay
1. Research Your Audience
The first thing to do before writing the essay is to do some research on the institute that you want to apply to.
You need to check which members are or have been present on the judging committee as well as past essays that won the scholarship. This is to find out what kind of essays the judges like.
A scholarship essay is to be written from a prompt. Sometimes the prompts are very open and let the student select what they want to write about while other times they have to write on specific topics.
However, one thing is common among all essays; the student is required to write about themself, their interests, and accomplishments both academically and socially. But you have to write the essay in the way that the judges want.
And that’s why you have to do proper research on them. Reading past winning essays will give you a good idea of what the judges like.
2. Use Your Own Experiences
When writing a scholarship essay, it is necessary to not write a generic one. The essay should include your experiences that are relevant to the program you want to apply for.
Sometimes the entity giving out the scholarship is interested in certain types of people, it could be people who are good at leadership, good at speaking, or good with some particular technical skill.
In such cases, you have to include your experiences that are related to what the entity requires. However, you have to generate some context for discussing your experiences first.
Before you can start writing, you need to understand the essay prompt and what it is asking of you. Then you need to write your experiences and skills such that they fit the context of the prompt.
This may sound hard, but it is quite easy because most scholarship essay prompts simply ask students to write about themselves and why they want to enroll in a particular program.
3. Ensure Your Essay is Unique
A shortcut to getting your scholarship appeal rejected is to commit plagiarism or imitate someone else’s essay.
Colleges and universities do not tolerate plagiarism of any kind, it is an extremely unethical act that severely undermines a writer’s credibility.
It is paramount that students make sure their scholarship essay is completely unique and does not share similarities with anything else.
Students can get the assistance of some tools to check plagiarism. This way, they can ensure that their content is entirely unique and free from accidental plagiarism.
There are a few techniques that you can use to ensure there is the least amount of plagiarism in your essay. One of the techniques you already know is to use your own experiences as they are unique to you.
Other methods include researching the topic you have to write on thoroughly and doing some paraphrasing where required. If all else fails, simply remove the parts that are plagiarized.
Unique essays have the advantage of standing out during the judging process. If something was unique, then chances are that a judge will remember it favorably.
That increases the chances of your essay getting a good score and getting accepted for the scholarship.
4. Create an Engaging Start
First impressions are pretty important, they can give people pre-conceived ideas about other people’s personalities.
You do not want to leave a bland or (worse) bad impression on the judging committee. So, your starting paragraph should be attention-grabbing and interesting.
The start of an essay is a prelude to what’s to come. Do not use quotes, especially those from famous people. They are used so much that they give the impression of uninspired content which is obviously not desirable.
If you really do want to use a quote, then use one that you made yourself. Other steps that you can take to make your intro more engaging are listed below:
- Address the audience at least once in the intro.
- Don’t say the title again in the intro.
- Briefly go over what you will discuss in the essay.
An engaging start will make the reader more inclined to finish your essay and look upon it favorably as well.
5. Review Your Essay Iteratively
Reviewing the work is essential. Nobody can write a perfect draft on their first try. Writing is an iterative process, it takes many cycles of writing and proofreading it until it is acceptable. Hence always proofread your essay before submitting it.
Common mistakes that are usually found during the proofreading process are:
- Spelling mistakes
- Tense mistakes
- Punctuation mistakes
- Confusing paragraphs
- Rambling sentences
Reviewing also allows you to check for plagiarism, which we have already discussed in a previous point. Some tips to proofread and review your essay effectively are as follows:
- Read the essay aloud to yourself;
- Have someone else read it to you;
- Get the opinions of your teachers or parents;
- Compare your essay with previous winning essays.
These are some of the ways in which you can review your essay.
Writing a winning essay for a scholarship is not an easy task. As long as the judges are human beings there will be an element of uncertainty in the evaluation.
All one can do is try their best and have no regrets. The tips discussed in this article are good ideas to keep in mind. However, be warned that they do not guarantee your success.
But don’t let that discourage you, people can only try their best. Success is achieved by being resilient and unrelenting.
If you follow these tips, you can rest assured that your essay will get a boost in its quality. This will increase the chances of you getting accepted for the scholarship.